Story: Tim Neal | Photo: Stephen Lang
25 years ago, three young women got together to run a playgroup at St James' on Scott Road. 25 years, and maybe 500 children later, one of them is still there.
Two mornings a week, Isilda Lang is the organiser and stalwart of St James’ Parents and Toddlers group.
On Saturday 12th November grandparents, parents and children came together to celebrate this anniversary and to offer their thanks and continued support.
There were well over twenty toddlers, as well as some overgrown children – teenagers and adults who had spent their mornings at the playgroup with Isilda in the past.
Isilda recalls that there was just not enough good provision for parents with small children at the time. The only thing to do was self-organise, with Linda Jones and Panni Poh Yoke Loh. There was never enough money and Isilda recalled fundraising activities supported by boxers Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham and Johnny Nelson from Brendan Ingle’s gym.
Elders from the Church were present to offer their thanks too. They feel blessed that the building has become home to such a vibrant and lively community and Isilda was keen to recognise the support the playgroup has received.
A moving display of photographs visibly demonstrated the numbers of children and parents who have benefited from the playgroup. Delicious food was prepared and served by playgroup supporters – a tribute to the parents who have given so much over the years to St James' playgroup.
It was a lovely event where all present were able to share memories and enjoy the feeling of being part of 25 years of youth, growth and community.
A cake and gift were presented to thank Isilda. As she said, “Here’s to the next 25 years”.